Birder John Workman reports:
While the celebrity Wheatear appears to have hauled its "whit oers" out on last night's favorable winds, there were plenty of consolation prizes.
Highlights (for me at least) from this morning include:
Sora (2), easily seen; one repeatedly chasing the usually dominant Semi-palmated Sandpipers off the mud flats. A second Sora then walked out of the reeds and entered the water (!) to surface-feed next to the Yellowlegs. Which was interesting, for sure.
14 species of shorebirds, including Pectoral, Western, Stilt, and the continuing youngster American Golden-Plover (pictured above).
Caspian Tern (2), one of which bolted down — while on-the-fly, and with supreme effort — a large, freshly caught squamiger. All while acrobatically avoiding a cheeky Ring-billed Gull in hot pursuit.
Earlier in the morning, near the AmVets Carrillon:
Boblink flyovers with at least one Dickcissel, which gave that short call which sounds like electronic flatulence.
Peregrine Falcon flyby with a small passerine in its talons.
In short, a few great hours on a mid-September morning.
The NJ Meadowlands Commission and the Bergen County Audubon Society are pleased to announce a 7 a.m. bird walk at DeKorte Park on Saturday, Sept. 19.
The water levels in the Shorebird are very low, and we have been getting incredible birds (like the Glossy Ibis among egrets, above) that we would love to share – though we fear the celebrated Northern Wheatear has hit the avian highway.
Click "Continue reading…" for details.
We did a loop with birder Rob Fanning around the Marsh Discovery Trail yesterday evening and saw more than two dozen species, including these two Black-crowned Night Herons hanging out with yellowlegs. (Thanks, Rob!)
We are posting here to give you an idea of the shorebirds that have been around. Rob did not see two of his target birds, the imm. Glossy Ibis and the Golden Plover — although they had been here most of the day.
We did not think to look for the Wheatear as we had already had great looks and we were losing our light.
Click "Continue reading to see Rob's full report.
We regret to report that as of 9:20 a.m., the Northern Wheatear has not been seen on the Transco Trail. There's a strong breeze out of the west, and there is a good chance he may be riding it.
He was last seen near the beginning of the trail, perched on a trail sign, a bit past 6 Thursday night.
The water levels are still low in the Shorebird Pool, even for high tide, and we are pumping out water now, so this afternoon should be good for Soras (above), the Least Bittern (right) and shorebirds. We will be posting Rob Fanning's bird list for DeKorte Thursday evening to give you an idea of all the great birds that are here.
If you do see the Wheatear or any other "good bird" at DeKorte, please call Jim Wright on his cellphone, 201-785-6604.
And a thank you to all the wonderful folks who visited DeKorte to see the Wheatear and other nifty birds the past few days. It was great to meet so many of you.
Sunday (September 20)
Kaleidoscope of Hope Walkathon. This DeKorte Park walk of 1, 3 or 5 miles benefits women and their families affected by ovarian cancer. The fund-raising walks support ovarian cancer research and early detection programs. They start at 9 a.m. Call (201) 933-0008 for more information, or click here.
Monday (September 21)
Movie Night at the Meadowlands Environment Center. The NJ Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council has teamed up with Green Faith New Jersey, a group of interfaith environmentalists, to present “movie night” at the Meadowlands Environment Center in DeKorte Park, Lyndhurst.
The film is the Emmy-nominated “Blue Vinyl,” a humorous look at the environmental truth about America’s favorite plastic. The event kicks off at 4 p.m. with refreshments and time for networking, the movie shows at 5 p.m., and at 6:30 director Judith Helfand will lead a discussion on the film. A nominal fee will be charged to benefit the NJ Chapter of the GBC. For more information, visit www.usgbcnj.org.
Tuesday (September 22)
Harrier Meadow Walk with Bergen County Audubon Society. This free event starts at Harrier Meadow and runs from 10 a.m. to noon. Will include a bird-banding demonstration by NJMC naturalist Mike Newhouse. To rsvp, contact Don Torino of the BCAS at email@example.com or 201-636-4022.
The DeKorte Wheatear is the first record of this bird in the Meadowlands and Bergen County. It is the 21st state record overall.
Another Wheatear was seen in Connecticut for a week recently, and Garret Mountain had one for six hours last year. The DeKorte Wheatear is an immature bird; the Connecticut Wheatear, we are told, was an adult.
"Wheatear" is derived from either the Scottish, Norse or Old English phrase "white arse," which the bird displays in flight and occasionally when bobbing (left), which it likes to do now and again.
The bird was first seen by Pat Clark of Montclair on Monday, who mentioned it Pete Bacinski of NJ Audubon's Sandy Hook Bird Observatory. He passed along the information, and New Jersey Meadowlands Commission staffers photographed what they thought was a likely candidate.
The sighting was confirmed Tuesday Evening and posted immediately on this blog as well as the Jersey Birds e-mail alert list.
A steady stream of birders has been visiting (and photographing) the Wheatear since 6:45 a.m. Wednesdat morning. Chris Takacs got this neat shot (above) of the Wheatear with its favorite meal.
The bird is likely from Greenland, northern Canada or Alaska, en route to its wintering grounds in Africa. It is also a frequent vistor to England.
A very informative newspaper article from England is here.
Alas, the bird could leave at any time.